Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Inc.
The LGBTQIS Pride Activities, and Social Events Center of Elmira NY
The only Church in Central New York founded and fostered by the GLBTQIS community for 38 years. October 31, 2021 - 38th Anniversary now in our 39th year in Ministry.
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Updated by Pastor Benedict on December 22, 2020

 

The following Statement Of Faith (Short Form) was adopted on May 12, 1996, by the Ray Of Hope Council in the representation of the Congregation and the Pastors.  This web page was updated on November 5, 2016, to include the addition of our statement on the Doctrine of Universal Salvation, adopted into the By-Laws in September 2011.  That statement is at the end of this page.

 

All persons of any belief system, and those with no faith or belief of any kind, are welcome at all of the activities of Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ.  By this we mean we promise to embrace and include you, not just tolerate your presence. 

 

Persons who attend Ray Of Hope are "free thinkers" who bring a wide spectrum of experience and exploration when it comes to matters of "faith" and "spirituality."  Freedom of thought, freedom of inquiry, freedom to question, wonder, and to grow are treasured principles at Ray Of Hope Church.

 

Each person is uniquely and personally responsible for what they choose to believe, and for their own eternal journey.

 

I, Pastor Benedict, describe this gift God has given us as an "Open Christianity."  I did not coin the term "Open Christianity" and I may not be using it in the same way others might.  It is my opinion that an Open Christianity is God's personal, intimate, and eternal gift to all humanity.  When I use the term Open Christianity it is an indication that we acknowledge what God has given us in the Church of the Only Begotten Son, the Eternal Word Incarnate, is so huge in its spectrum and scope of variation and inclusion that we will never be able to explore, never fully understand, or even need everything included in this gift.  There is no way to find all of the outer perimeters (the outer borders) or all of the parameters (the measurements in all directions) of this Open Christianity because it is an expression of the love of God, the revelation of God's self through Christ and in the powerful ministry of the Holy Spirit, in my opinion.  Therefore, at Ray Of Hope Church, we are not consumed with limits on what we cannot do because this or that is not consistent with the boundaries drawn by denominational records, teachings, or practices.  Instead, we are amazed, always awakened, and newly aware of the possibilities and the potential we have in what we call an Open Christianity to whatever the Holy Spirit is saying to the churches today.  We are assured in the Book of Revelation Chapter 2, verses 7, 11, 17, 29, and Chapter 3, verses 6, 13, and 22 that the Holy Spirit would be continuing to speak to us throughout the dispensation of the Church from its beginning until Christ comes to rule on the Earth. 

 

So, each person is invited while participating in the life of Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ to explore through any and every avenue what the movement of the Holy Spirit is saying to them and guiding them to.

 

The Pastoral Ministry of Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Inc. teaches salvation is completely and uniquely the purview of God alone and God has accomplished salvation and redemption for all creation as a reality and self-revelation of God.  All persons and all of creation will see the New Heavens and the New Earth.  (see John 5:24) (Exodus 33:19 and Romans 9:14-18) (Isaiah 25:6-8) (Revelation 21:1-6; Revelation 22:1-5) (1 Corinthians 15:20-28)

 

While all who attend our functions are free to wonder and explore their own faith and spirituality, the Pastoral and Teaching Ministries of Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Inc. adhere in unity to these Articles Of Faith and base all Doctrines, Dogmas, Teachings, and Practices of Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ on these Articles Of Faith.

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+ We believe in One God Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen.

 

+ We believe in one Lord, our Sovereign, Jesus the only Christ, the only Son of God, Anointed Messiah, Eternal High Priest, Savior of the world, eternally begotten of God, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one being with God, and through Jesus, all things were made.

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+ We believe God loved the world so much that God gave Jesus, God's own Son, to save humanity from sin, and to reconcile the world to God,

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so that whoever believes in Jesus has eternal salvation, eternal safety, and is a member of the eternal community of God.

 

+ Therefore, it was for us and our salvation he came down from heaven, was conceived by the Holy Spirit

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and was born of the Virgin Mary and became truly human, like us in all ways except He never sinned.

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In this way, the Word became Flesh and dwelt among us. For our sake, in our place, as a sacrifice for our sin of the world, he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

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suffered death as the Lamb of God, and was buried. On the third day, he rose again eternally conquering death and reigning forever as the Resurrection and the Life in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven,

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and is positioned at the right hand of God.  He will come again in glory

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and to judge the living and the dead, and his Sovereign Realm, His Eternal Community, his kingdom will have no end.

 

+ We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from God and the Son, who with God and the Son is worshipped and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets, and who empowers and gives life to the Church.

 

+ We believe in one holy universal/catholic Christian and apostolic Church.

 

+ We acknowledge one baptism into Christ,

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for the sign of repentance, faith in Christ, and forgiveness of sins.

 

+ We look for the resurrection of the Church, the saints in Christ, and the life of the eternal world to come under God's reign, where there will be liberty, justice, and equity for all with God, in Christ, and through the Holy Spirit.

 

Additionally:

 

+ We the Faith Community of Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ, believe Christianity is the revelation of God in Christ Jesus, and the religion of God in Christ set forth in the Scriptures.

 

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Christ Jesus is foretold in the Hebrew Testament (formerly known as the "Old Testament") and, presented in the Christian Testament (formerly known as the "New Testament"). Christ Jesus is proclaimed by the Christian Church in every age and every land.

 

+ The foundation of Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ is Jesus Christ. We are not creating a new Church, or a new religion. The foundation is laid by God, and we take our place as spiritual stones being built into the Church triumphant.

 

+ We believe that the Bible is the divinely inspired written Word Of God.

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The Bible is the final authority for believers in all matters of faith and Doctrines.  All teachings and practices must be in harmony with the Word Of God.

 

+ We believe that all people, with the exception of Jesus the Son of God, have sinned and are therefore in need of the new birth in Christ Jesus before they can enter the Eternal Community of Jesus.

 

+ We believe that Salvation is available to all who call on the Name of Jesus Christ, and are re-born into the Life of Christ.

 

+ We believe the Church is made of all people from every time and every place who believe in Christ Jesus. Believers constitute the priesthood of Jesus, the holy nation, the royal generation.

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+ In Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ we believe in remaining faithful to the Apostle's teaching, the Community of believers, the breaking of the bread, and prayers.

 

+ We believe the local Church is called to evangelize the local people by social action and ministry.

 

+ Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ is Christ-centered in all of its teachings, and therefore does not ascribe to the dogmas, teachings, or practices of any denomination, or para-church organization of the Christian Church. Rather, we maintain an autonomous freedom to draw from the two millennia of immense riches known in all denominations of Christianity. Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ is an "independent" local Church. This does not mean we stand alone, as though on pride or arrogance, rather we seek to share an interdependence with other assemblies and fellowships of believers who endeavor equally as hard as we do to bring the Gospel to all people.

 

Statement on the Doctrine of Universal Salvation.

"We believe that Salvation is a gift that God has given to the entire human race.  Romans Chapter Five explains this Doctrine of Universal Salvation.  One's personal salvation is assured by believing in God as per John 5:24.  Salvation is best known through the Gospel of Jesus the Christ, and through rebirth by the Holy Spirit." (Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Inc By-Laws September, 2011  Lines 1141-1148)

 

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SCRIPTURE VERSES TO SHARE WITH OTHERS WHEN SHARING FAITH TOGETHER.

 

Romans 15:14  Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

Titus 2:11  The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all.

 

John 5:24  Those who hear my word and believe in God who sent me, have eternal life, will never come under judgment, and have passed from death to life already.

 

Romans 10:13 "For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved." (repeated at Joel 2:32; Acts 2:21 the Day of Pentecost).  All people from any human estate or situation in life are included in these words "whoever, anyone who" asks.  The word "Lord" here refers to God principally, so those who call on God shall be saved.

 

Isaiah 25:6-8 "On this mountain, the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.  And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations.  He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken."

 

"Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?"   (Isaiah 43:19 ESV) "Behold, I make all things new."  (Revelation 21:5)

 

"Christ died and rose again for this very purpose, to be Lord both of the living and of the dead."  (Romans 14:9 New Living Translation)

 

*** CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO THE BY-LAWS ARTICLE 10. ***

 

Page updated
10/25/21
4:06 p.m.
For easy instructions on how to use Skype to participate in our activities click here.
God knows all of God's works from the beginning to all time. (Acts 15:17b-18)
From the beginning I revealed the end. From long ago I told you things that had not yet happened, saying, "My plan will stand, and I'll do everything I intended to do." (Isaiah 46:10 God's Word Trans.)
St. Vincent, Monk of Lerins in the 5th Century wrote ".....all possible care must be taken, that we hold that faith which has been believed everywhere, always, by all...This rule we shall observe if we follow universality, antiquity, consent. We shall follow universality if we confess that one faith to be true, which the whole Church throughout the world confesses; antiquity, if we in no wise depart from those interpretations which it is manifest were notoriously held by our holy ancestors and fathers; consent, in like manner, if in antiquity itself we adhere to the consentient definitions and determinations of all, or at the least of almost all priests and doctors.
The Commonitory, Chapter 2, vs 6 written in 434 AD
+ Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ is Christ-centered in all of its teachings, and therefore does not ascribe to the dogmas, teachings, or practices of any denomination, or para-church organization of the Christian Church. Rather, we maintain an autonomous freedom to draw from the two millennia of immense riches known in all denominations of Christianity. Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ is an "independent" local Church. This does not mean we stand alone, as though on pride or arrogance, rather we seek to share an interdependence with other assemblies and fellowships of believers who endeavor equally as hard as we do to bring the Gospel to all people.  (Ray Of Hope Church Statement Of Faith)

All content on the Ray Of Hope Church, Inc. web site is written for intelligent and interested nonspecialists.  Academic and professional specialists are invited to contact us at rayofhopechurch@aol.com for information on how to visit our St. Benedict of Nursia Memorial Library where all of the material on this web site is sourced.  Our library currrenty has over 6,000 holdings.
Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Inc. is the name of this ministry.  The only name associated with this ministry is the "Name above all names."  (see Philippians 2:8-11)
8     Jesus humbled himself,
        becoming obedient to death,
        even death on a cross.
9 Because of this, God highly exalted him
    and bestowed on him
      the Name above every other name,
10      So that at the name of Jesus
    every knee must bend,
    in the heavens, on the earth,
     and under the earth,
11  and every tongue proclaim
    to the glory of God:
    JESUS CHRIST IS LORD.
(based upon the New American Bible - divine office version  - 1970 with inclusive language added.)

Ray Of Hope

Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Inc.

is the original Church in Central New York for

ALL People, including but not limited to

persons who are or might be:

Straight, Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,

Transgender,

Questioning,

Intersex, Queer,

Asexual, Pansexual, Hetero-flexible. 

Anyone who is human!

Married, divorced, remarried, single,

and persons of all gender expressions.

Persons of any faith / religion or

no faith, no religion, or have no idea where to start with religion.

A spiritual home for those who are "spiritual but not religious."

WHAT WE ARE TRYING TO TELL Y OU IS WE ARE

the Church by us, for us, 4 U!

The Church made by you because

we  ARE  you!

Ray Of Hope Church was founded in 1983

and is serving Syracuse, Ithaca and Elmira New York.

We are in fact serving the world with live interactive worship services,

Bible enrichment sessions, and meetings

through SKYPE on the Internet.

WE  ARE  YOU!

We never held a vote to decide if we would be an INCLUSIVE church for you.

WE  ARE  YOU!

We are not an OPEN AND AFFIRMING church for you.

WE  ARE  YOU!

We are not a RECONCILING CHURCH or

RECONCILING  CONGREGATION for you.

WE  ARE  YOU!

We are not an OPEN MINDED or ACCEPTING or WELCOMING

 church where you can attend as long as you blend in quietly and discretely.

WE  ARE  YOU!

THIS is the church where YOU belong.

Ray Of Hope Church is the church

by us, for us, and made by You.

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Lewis Sperry Chafer: "Since, as acknowledged by theologians generally, Systematic Theology is the collecting, scientifically arranging, comparing, exhibiting, and defending of all facts from any and every source concerning God and His works, it is obvious there could be no valid reason offered for the omission of any vital doctrine from this science." (Chafer Systematic Theology, Volume One, page x - Preface.  © 1947 Lewis Sperry Chafer, 1975 Dallas Theological Seminary, 1980.)
Continue to explore the belief system of Ray Of Hope Church by reading The PROLOGUE to the long form of the Statement Of Faith.  This unfinished document was published on June 30, 1996.  To read the PROLOGUE Right Click Here. (added to this website 10-16-20)
Read the Doctrine and understanding of what it means that Jesus is the Only Begotton Son of God. Right Click Here.
Commentary on the famous prayer:  Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are most in need of thy mercy.

This prayer is known as the Fatima Prayer.  It is often prayed by people who pray the Rosary at the end of every decade (ten beads) of prayers.  It would usually be prayed at least five times with each "mystery set" of the Rosary, a normal sitting.  Imagine how many thousands of people are praying this prayer at any moment, considering a global basis.  Below is a post I made on a Facebook page about this prayer.  12-4-20 Pastor Benedict.

What follows is my joyful excitement over the power of this prayer. Please read my response with joy. I am not preaching or shouting at anyone, just joyfully stating the wonderful power of this prayer mentioned above.

My favorite part about this prayer is it is often prayed by people who do not accept LGBTQI.... persons, and who believe we are going to Hell. Yet, in reality, they are actually exercising the Priesthood of All Believers and in the Name of Jesus, they are insisting we will NOT go to Hell.   To continue reading this post Right Click Here.


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See the December 22, 2020 Bible Enrichment Session where we discussed the introductory paragraphs of our Statement of Faith.  We explain people of all faith expressions and those with no faith at all are welcome at Ray Of Hope Church.  We honor the concept of being "free thinkers."  To see the video Right Click Here.
Continue to explore the belief system of Ray Of Hope Church by reading a Pastoral Letter to Ray Of Hope Church on the Priesthood Of All Believes and the Crowns of the Reward Judgement. (August 27, 2015 - Rev. Br. Shawn F. Benedict, OSB, Appointed Pastor. Updated 6-12-21) 

You will never come under judgement but you shall be rewarded.  John 5:24 Jesus declares this doctrine: “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever hears My word and believes in God who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life already."  Read about this Right Click Here.

DEFINITIONS EVERYONE NEED UNDERSTAND: Doctrine; Dogma; Teaching; Practice.  These four essential definitions are necessary to answer the questions of why SOME churches condemn people to Hell over questions of sexuality and gender expression.  BEFORE you get into a discussion on the Bible and SEXUALITY and GENDER be sure to have a solid working definition of these four words.  This definition paper is my own. I have been developing it since 1980.  Br. Shawn Francis Benedict, Pastor.  To read these definitions Right Click Here.
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